Administrative Records: Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846Salt Lake City
: Church Historian's Press
Administrative Records: Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846
Everything You Could Ever Want to Know about the Council of Fifty in Nauvoo” would be a well-suited subtitle for this highly anticipated volume. As the editors note, Joseph Smith and his closest associates saw the Council of Fifty “as the beginning of the literal kingdom of God on earth” (xxiii). It functioned secretly in Nauvoo from March 1844 to January 1846 and then later for three short periods in Utah. Historians have long been aware of this council, also called the “Kingdom of God,” and some have pieced together from various journals and other reliable sources considerable information about the council’s activities. However, until this publication the details of the council’s discussions and the variety of issues it dealt with were known only sketchily. In this publication, we learn, more fully than ever before, what leading members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were saying and doing about certain political issues, the Saints’ persecution, the future of the Church, the kingdom of God, Church doctrine, exploring and settling in the West, and much more.
Because the Council of the Fifty is largely unknown among most Latter-day Saints, some readers may be surprised at some things they discover in the minutes, such as some aspects of the council’s plan for settlement in the West or Joseph Smith’s interpretation of the kingdom that Daniel prophesied would roll forth and fill the earth (see Dan. 2). These events took place in different times, when many challenges and perceptions were quite unlike those of today. Regardless, these minutes tell a story of dedicated, hardworking men debating important issues and finding solutions to difficult challenges during a most trying time in Church history.